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 Forum index » Discussion » Diversity in electro-music
Muff Wiggler: Sexism in Audio Cultures
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glow worm



Joined: Nov 05, 2008
Posts: 150
Location: Petts Wood, Kent, UK
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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elmegil wrote:
There are plenty of other places on the net where you can ask that question if it's an honest one.

Yes, it was an honest question.

elmegil wrote:
and the way you have couched your question seems pretty loaded...


Couched? Loaded?? Please explain.

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elmegil



Joined: Mar 20, 2012
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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've had enough people try to drag me into this kind of conversation pretending to have "honest questions" but actually having an agenda. The way you've stated your position, particularly your claim of "having to walk on eggshells" resembles those conversations more than a little bit. As does the meeting all statements with more questions.

I can't tell whether you really have an honest question or not, and I don't know you to accuse you of being one of those with an agenda, but this is not the place to discuss it in any case.

I don't feel like I have to walk on egghshells to treat women like equal adults. If a woman tells me that I've said or done something that she finds offensive, I listen, I apologize, I try to do better, and I don't feel "attacked" or otherwise put out. Same as I would with a man, quite honestly.

It's not my responsibility, and this forum is not the place, to try and help you get to the same place. As I say: if your question really is an honest one, take it somewhere that regularly discusses these issues and work it out there. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt.
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Demi Jon



Joined: May 23, 2015
Posts: 4
Location: Otepoti, Te Wai Pounamu

PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm a bit nervous about responding to this too, as it is difficult to judge your intentions here, but I will do my best.

glow worm wrote:
elmegil wrote:
There are plenty of other places on the net where you can ask that question if it's an honest one.

Yes, it was an honest question.


If you are seriously interested, then you will need to take some time as there are no quick answers and it involves a lot of deep thinking about who you are, and how society operates. I follow a site called 'Everyday Feminism' and learn a lot from it.

glow worm wrote:
I'm asking because I'm confused and because I'm starting to get fed up with feeling like I have to walk on bloody eggshells all the time, in case I cause 'offence' to someone and end up having my entire personality and life judged on the basis of a single remark.


Participating in a forum can be like that too! We all know how often what we write online can be misinterpreted because we can't see the other person or hear their tone of voice. For instance, to me, your tone in the quote above sounds like you may just interested in arguing about how inconvenient it is that you may need to be more considerate in your use of language, so I would like to respond to that. The article I quote below discusses it even further.

Because people are complex and ever-changing, even if you are honest in your attempts at being mindful about changing your interactions with other people, sometimes you might stuff it up. Sometimes, the other person may take offence and they react badly. Sometimes it's your fault, and you should accept that, and sometimes the other person may be over-reacting. All of us are constantly learning and evolving in the way we communicate with others.

As a sort of brief introduction to what contemporary feminism means from men's perspective, I'm going to leave it up to folks who are way more tuned in than me, and extensively quote from an article on Everyday Feminism that may help. It's a big read, but this is a complex issue that can't be sorted with a few quick reassurances. Look at this as the first step, and I hope you will be interested enough to learn more:

Everyday Feminism wrote:
There are a lot of really wonderful, well-intentioned men who have a difficult time understanding the difference between being nice to women and being an ally to women and women’s causes.

You may well be genuine and 100% sincere, but the way men are socialized around gender means that even the most goodhearted guys are susceptible to sexist slip-ups.

If (for instance) you grow up being taught that you aren’t allowed to express emotion or cry, that the only way to be masculine is to be macho or aggressive, and that the only way to bond with other men is through shared objectification of women, it can be extraordinarily difficult to recognize when you’re being sexist – especially if you’re well-intentioned.

Besides, it’s true: Paying for lunch for your female friend is a far cry from cracking kitchen jokes.

However, we need and expect more than that from the men in our lives.

Men should feel a responsibility to defend and advocate for women in ways encompassing more than chivalry. Just because you’re not involved in tearing us down doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for helping build us up.

Let’s discuss the driving social forces behind accidental or “benign” sexism and talk about how you can use self introspection to check your privilege and become a better male feminist ally.

Gender and Culture Often Influences Unintentional Sexism

Think about how male/female interaction and male/female friendship is portrayed in the media: Romantic implications almost immediately overshadow every dynamic. We’re not taught to envision relationships that don’t have a sexualized end goal.

But even if your relationship is not romantic or even inclined towards that possibility, it’s still probably impacted by gender and gender roles.

Because men are positioned as protective authority figures and women are allegedly fragile or in need of that guidance or protection, men are expected to play the dominant role in relationships with women.

Given that dominance can be associated with aggression, nice guys are taught to be chivalrous towards women to prove that they’re gentlemen. You’re supposed to hold open doors, pull out chairs, and so on.

Ultimately, you are still treating women differently specifically because they’re women. What you see as a sign of respect or kindness, she might see as a sign that you perceive her to be inferior or incapable of taking care of herself.

Unintentional sexism is still sexism.

Don’t treat your friend well because she’s a woman, treat her well because you like her as a person.

You know how men are always told to respect a woman because she’s someone’s wife/mother/sister? That tagline pretty much encapsulates everything that’s wrong with gender relations in our culture.

You should respect all women because they’re human beings first and foremost. A woman’s humanity and individuality always supersedes her gender. Let her tell you how she wants to be treated. If you’re unclear, ask questions rather than make generalized assumptions.

Make it clear that you support the women in your life as peers and equals.

I want to remind you that I’m not out to accuse you of purposefully feeding into patriarchy every time you open a car door for a girl. I don’t think you conduct your relationships with malicious intent.

I just want you to understand the wider, potentially corrosive social implications of such interaction.

However, it’s important to note that men are very quick to absolve themselves of responsibility for sexism. As soon as they’ve successfully proven they’re not part of the problem, the problem isn’t a problem anymore.

It is not just a male phenomenon. I think we all do it from time to time. Someone presents us with an issue and we feel uncomfortable so we pay attention long enough to reassure ourselves that we’re not directly responsible for it. Once we reach that point, we breathe a sigh of relief and go back to pretending the issue doesn’t exist.

Or at least we’re much less inclined to take the issue as seriously.

Just because you’re not actively or intentionally sexist or misogynistic doesn’t mean that you aren’t involved in creating an environment that perpetuates those forces.

I want you to turn off the impulse that tells you to tune out. Your friends need your support for women’s issues much more than they need you to buy them a coffee.

In the long run, a higher degree of social literacy and awareness of feminist issues will reflect much more highly on your character than any amount of chivalry ever could.

You need to go beyond being a nice guy.

It’s Possible to Become a Better Male Ally – And This Is How to Do It!

Now it’s time to talk about what it means to be a – gasp – male feminist.

Men and women alike are taught that even uttering the word feminist should be avoided like the plague.

When everything boils down, the benefits of feminism are easy to grasp. Everyone should be equal! Patriarchy oppresses women, but it also hurts men in the process by stunting their emotions and limiting their self-expression!

You might still be a little wary, and that’s understandable. Feminism can be difficult for even the most well-intentioned of men to navigate..

Trying to integrate men into the feminist movement can be challenging. It’s important to remember that as a man, you’re more accustomed to having your opinions validated. As an ally, you have a duty to not only listen, but to support and respect women’s experiences.

You’re going to enter feminist discussions with the knowledge that you’re not going to be the most well-informed person at the table. Approach the exploration of your privilege as a learning opportunity.

A Critical Part of Being an Ally Is Talking to Your Female Friends About How You Treat Them

Absorbing all of this information at once may be overwhelming, so start out by implementing it on an every day level.

Open up a dialogue with the women in your life. Talk to them about their experiences and think about ways that you can support them. If you have been treating them differently because of their gender, be open about it and ask how it impacts them.

Nice guys are important because they have the potential to be excellent male allies. You care about women and even though you may have stumbled with unintentional sexism, that’s also a great jumping off point for unpacking the intricacies of how gender impacts your relationships.

You need to be more than nice guys, but that doesn’t make you inadequate. Inexperience with social issues is not the same as willful ignorance.

You have great potential. Working together, we can accomplish a lot.

Today’s nice guys can be tomorrow’s feminists.


I can't claim to be an expert about feminism. In the past I was totally ignorant about it, and even passively dismissive. But for the past several years I've made a concerted effort to learn more, and it has affected my entire world view for the better. And I still learn every day, and I still get it wrong sometimes.

I hope that this answers some of your questions, and I hope your interest in this is real, not just a chance to blow off steam about 'PC gone mad'. Smile
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elmegil



Joined: Mar 20, 2012
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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I will add one other comment:

glow worm wrote:
I'm asking because I'm confused and because I'm starting to get fed up with feeling like I have to walk on bloody eggshells all the time, in case I cause 'offence' to someone and end up having my entire personality and life judged on the basis of a single remark.


You're going to find a few people like that everywhere, with regard to every topic. You'll find people on Muff's and maybe even here who would judge you on your choice of Euro versus 5U. None of them worth your time or your concern, if that kind of judgement is truly what is going on.

I have been accused of "mansplaining" when I was truly trying to clarify a point I tried to make; though I was doing a poor job of it, it was an honest attempt to communicate. It's infuriating. But in the end there's nothing I could do about the chip on that person's shoulder. I could take it personally, or I could continue attempting to communicate with those who actually cared to listen to what I had to say.
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Nelson Baboon



Joined: Sep 15, 2007
Posts: 10
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

it sounds like you have an inner conflict over your own caricatures of feminism from 2 different eras. It's all in the way you're framing it.

Everyone in this word is 'vulnerable' and 'in need of protection'. And anyone who considers himself/herself a full human might get a bit unnerved if they found themselves being treated as less than that.

If one understands equality, there is no issue here.

There is a tendency to require the utmost in perfection from feminists. For instance, watch what happens when a woman posts negatively about her experiences there, and (horrors) expresses her opinion that the site is sexist, and unwelcoming to new women members. Of course, generally this isn't a long standing member, it is precisely a new member who posts about these experiences. And they are almost immediately attacked for 'trolling' in some fashion, which they must be doing, right, because they haven't stayed around for a few years to see how great a community it is. And then they are also attacked for not coming back to defend themselves, when of course, they would meet more of the same ridicule.

In the last go round, in some thread about women who "should" use modular, a new member posted a picture of some women using a modular. She was immediately met with a joke about jerking off.

She posted angrily about this in the thread that she started. But, oh, yeah - she waited too long after this happened, apparently. She was ridiculed for that too.

Curiously, I don't think that the mods are sexist - at least most of them. But they are so defensive about the forum, and seem to believe that any time someone criticizes some of the dynamics there, it is a criticism of them personally. I don't think that it's easy to moderate a forum like that - not at all. The frustrating thing is that it does occasionally look like there is hope for things changing for the better there, but then it devolves in pretty much the same way every time.

glow worm wrote:
elmegil wrote:
...despite having close friends who advocate for feminism.

I've not really spent any time in the MW forum and am not calling you out in particular, but I'd just like to ask the following question about 'feminism' and 'sexism', in the context of the wider debate...

Which 'feminism' are we talking about here, exactly?

Back in the late 1970s / early 1980s, as I was entering adulthood, feminists were telling us that women were mens' equals and in no way the 'weaker' sex. Having been raised with a somewhat more 'traditional' (shall we say?) view of womens' 'place' in society, this concept took a little getting used to, but I eventually accepted it and - I must say - have had my life enriched by it, especially in the workplace.

But now, 'feminism' tells us that women are 'vulnerable' and 'in need of protection', thus promoting the idea that they are somehow the 'weaker' sex - an idea which I had previously been led to believe was 'sexist'.

Then there was the twenty-something lady I was chatting with last year, who described herself as a 'neo-feminist'. When I asked what this meant, she replied, "It means I don't have a problem watching porn!"

And we both laughed. Together, as equals, we laughed.

So I'll ask again: Which 'feminism' are we talking about here, exactly?

I'm asking because I'm confused and because I'm starting to get fed up with feeling like I have to walk on bloody eggshells all the time, in case I cause 'offence' to someone and end up having my entire personality and life judged on the basis of a single remark.

Can someone please help me?
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Little Otik



Joined: Oct 25, 2013
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Location: Berkeley, CA, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I haven't been here for a while (this forum), and I came over looking for info on my Mankato filter; It is a real joy to see some honest and non-loaded discussion about the sexism on Muff Wiggler.

I feel like there is so much to be done to welcome women into the community of electronic music - and I'm tired of masturbation jokes about knobs.

Does everything have to reference sex?

OK, now let the flaming begin.
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stevebryson



Joined: Nov 15, 2014
Posts: 14
Location: San Rafael, CA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

muffwiggler.com has been hacked and at the moment points to hairwigharlem.com. Funny but not funny. Coincidence?

On the real topic, we really do have to try harder to be more respectful and treat everyone as equally welcome participants. It's really not all that difficult. Unfortunately a lot of guys don't know how to do that around women. If you think you have to walk on eggshells, ask yourself if you respect those you worry about offending.

The modular community on muffs is generally one of the most open and friendly I've seen on the web, but I'm male. After seeing the icky stuff quoted in the essay linked by the OP, I can see where women would have a different experience.
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elmegil



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

stevebryson wrote:
muffwiggler.com has been hacked and at the moment points to hairwigharlem.com. Funny but not funny. Coincidence?


Thankfully, it's not like the last time, the forum is still there, it's just someone hijacking DNS / name to address mapping. There are ways around it. If you know what a "hosts file" is you can add the proper IP there and it's no longer a problem. I am not really up for a tutorial on hosts files and how to edit them though....
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Yasha



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm a guy, but I was rather shocked when I first visited the Ableton forums several years ago. It was mostly the off-topic posts -- there seemed to a boys' club atmosphere with raunchy jokes and the general assumption that the reader was a red-blooded heterosexual male. I started wondering: Where are the women? And thinking: If I were a woman, I would not find this to be a welcoming environment.

I don't know if the Ableton forum has really cleaned up its act, but at least the off-topic messages have been moved to a separate subforum. Other sites have had similar problems to varying degrees -- I mostly see the open participation of women in the more esoteric or academic music discussion areas, such as Looper's Delight or the microtonal groups on Facebook. Even on some of the better sites, such as Create Digital Music where women artists and creators are often featured, a photo or video of a talented woman will automatically attract comments about her appearance.

You know, I remember when mechanics shops and lumberyards always had photos of naked women on the walls. This changed once women entered all areas of the workforce. Once-segregated service organizations and social clubs were havens where men could be men and members felt threatened when women started to be admitted. But everyone survived these changes, and I think they were worth it.

Personally, I feel a lot more comfortable when there are women around. There are already lots of women involved in electronic music and instrument building and it seems crazy that some of the prominent forums with lots of good discussion and information -- such as Muff Wiggler -- are driving women away or into quiet lurking. (Maybe there are several women posters on Muff Wiggler, but if so, I see none who support the status quo.)
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stevebryson



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Location: San Rafael, CA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks, elmegil for tracking this down. When I put the line

208.113.240.95 www.muffwiggler.com

in my hosts file I get back the muffwiggler we know and love. Until the muffs name thing is flxed folks might want to google how to add this line in their system's host file.
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stevebryson



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

What Yasha said.
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Little Otik



Joined: Oct 25, 2013
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I agree with Yasha.

I'd also say that when the more macho dominated professions he mentioned took down their sexist calendars and pinups was when lawsuits started to happen and sexual harassment became an offense for which businesses could lose money.

It doesn't mean the sexism went away, it just went underground.

And it is still in our culture in so many places.

There are lots of women in electronic music. But do they feel welcome?
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Queer



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Interesting discussion.
In my few years on Muffs I have noticed a change towards a more inclusive view. Members are now more willing to speak up when a thread heads into abusive territory but it obviously has a long way to go. I find in general, when compared to other artistic disciplines, music is often rampant with gender abuses. Crying or Very sad

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Cfish



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The world is what we make it. I thought muffs had something to do with cats until this pointed out different. Darn I feel old
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cerkit



Joined: Nov 17, 2016
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Location: Montgomery, AL USA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 2:27 pm    Post subject: Wiggler who?
Subject description: I had no idea that Muff Wiggler even existed
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This is an interesting topic. As a person who has been interested in electronic music since the late 70's, I have never even heard of Muff Wiggler. Just the name alone comes across a little silly.

As an American (and native English speaker) of a particular age, I also recognize the word "muff" as slang for female genitalia. Using it as part of the name of a community of any non-pornographic website is inappropriate in my opinion, but I'm sure this has been debated elsewhere and I'd rather not jump in that fire. I don't know if this word has the same slang definition in other English speaking countries or not, which could be why there are so many differing opinions on the matter.

Thanks for posting the article, it was informative.

Edit: Reworded to sound less judgmental.

Last edited by cerkit on Thu Nov 24, 2016 10:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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elmegil



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Originally named for a guitar pedal. Whether the guitar pedal was meant to refer to that slang or not is left as an exercise for the reader Smile
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AlanP



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Mike Matthews of Electro Harmonix claims that the Big Muff Pi distortion is named for it's "muffled sound". (Wiggler comes from EHX's Wiggler pedal.) Apparently MW Mike came up with the name at a band practice while looking at his pedalboard, and the rest of the band thought it was hilarious. I can actually see this happening, in a teenage male kind of way.)
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cerkit



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

AlanP wrote:
Mike Matthews of Electro Harmonix claims that the Big Muff Pi distortion is named for it's "muffled sound". (Wiggler comes from EHX's Wiggler pedal.) Apparently MW Mike came up with the name at a band practice while looking at his pedalboard, and the rest of the band thought it was hilarious. I can actually see this happening, in a teenage male kind of way.)


I see. Yeah, I can see it, too. But, there are things that I did in my younger years that I would rather not surface on the Internet.

Very Happy
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